Happy Labor Day 2012

Happy Labor Day! today is dedicated to all those hardworking individuals that have helped made this country what it is today. From North to South and East to West everyday Americans have stepped up everyday to contribute something to the growing efforts of the nation. I don’t know if i consider myself amongst some of those “iconic” hardworking folk, after all i spend my time capturing images and telling stories. But i did want to shout out to one group of people that you might not think about on this day, the volunteers.

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My good friend Chris here is a Police Officer by day and pilot by desire. He volunteers his time often at Cable Airport pulling planes around with a tug. Those volunteers do a heck of a lot around the world and they deserve a big piece of that respect today.

In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 200-400 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

The Acrobatic Cargo Plane

One of the definite highlights of Cable Airshow was the acrobatic performance by Clay Lacy. Now I didn’t know a thing about Clay Lacy before I went down there, and the whole time I was there I kept asking who he was. A little embarrassing but then there are a lot of Aviation Legends out there that I still don’t know about. Clay Lacy has racked up over 50,000 hours in planes and has one of the most successful charter plane services in the country. Besides the corporate world Clay has also flown numerous acrobatic roles as well as been part of multiple Aviation movies flying aircraft for filming. Flying the Pilatus is one of the acrobatic planes he specializes in.

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The Pilatus was designed for Short Landing and Takeoffs. It was built for the purpose of landing on grass stripes in the worse of terrains. It can take off with a payload of over 2,600lbs and with the STOL performance it has the world record for the highest landing of a fixed wing aircraft.

In the Camera Bag

Nikon D3, 200-400 VRII, Lexar UDMA Digital Film, with Sun-Sniper Strap

Making the Static’s Shine

One of the biggest challenges of working at an Airshow is capturing those great static shots. There isn’t always an opportunity to pull a plane out to where you want it, and in the case of this last weekend the background was mostly hangers anyways. A big factor that I found for the Cable Airport was that in the mornings when the sun came up over the hangers, the hangers cast a shadow over the parked planes. This made morning shooting difficult, but not impossible.

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This F4F Wildcat from the Comemorative Air Force was one of my favorite subjects to work with. It made a nice subject along with the SBD from planes of Fame. The one thing that still confuses is me, is the paint job. I can’t figure out that scheme.

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The Pilatus Porter PC-6 was a very interesting plane. The man flying it was known other than Clay Lacy, a true legend in the field of aviation, with over 50,000 hours under his belt. He had an amazing performance at the show, and that plane of his does a spectacular job. It turns on a dime and takes off in a very short distance. As I said earlier this is about making those static shots shine. Well in all of my shots down the runway there was an annoying set of power lines and building crane. Both of these were quick fixes in CS5. But there was one other tool I used on these planes to make them shine.

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Now one of my favorite lenses for working with static planes is the 200-400 VR. Not only does this lens allow me to be far away from the subject so I don’t get in anyone else way but also it compacts the subject and the background. When you got a lot of background clutter you don’t want in your photograph then it’s a good way to go. The Wildcat was shot with a 70-200, much closer, much tighter shot. Now the last element that i used on these shots which makes a big difference is Color Efex Pro’s Detail Extractor. This tool is absolutely amazing when working with planes. It brings out so much detail especially in the shadows under the wing that it’s almost a most. One thing to be careful with is that it does bring up noise, so it’s best to not apply this to the sky.

In the Bag
Nikon D3, 200-400 VRII, 70-200 VRII, Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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